Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

"This recipe comes from "Texas Home Cooking". You can find ground ancho powder at Penzey's spices and Mexican grocery stores. I have had difficulty keeping my enchiladas tightly rolled using this recipe, but they still taste fantastic!"
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Ready In:
1hr 20mins




  • To toast the cumin seeds, lay them on a shallow cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
  • Grind with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • The toasting will give the cumin a mellower, pleasant flavor.
  • In a saucepan, brown the meat with the onion and garlic.
  • Drain fat.
  • Add bacon drippings if desired.
  • Allow drippings to melt.
  • Add the stock cumin, oregano, salt, and ground ancho.
  • Let simmer 50 min, until meat is tender and liquid has thickened a bit.
  • Mix the masa harina in a small bowl with 2 T.
  • of the liquid from the gravy.
  • Stir the masa mixture back into the gravy.
  • Stir very thoroughly to help the masa dissolve.
  • It will thicken the gravy.
  • Allow to simmer 10 min more.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a med.
  • baking dish.
  • Mix the cheese and chopped onion together.
  • Soften the tortillas by dipping them quickly into 1/2- 1 inch of oil in a small skillet.
  • Remove quickly with tongs.
  • Don't allow the tortillas to become crisp.
  • You just want them to go limp, to make them easier to handle for rolling.
  • Drain tortillas lightly.
  • If you are using fresh or homemade tortillas, they will not need to be dipped in oil.
  • Using the tongs again, dip tortillas in the chili gravy to lightly coat.
  • Lay on a plate and sprinkle 1/4 c.
  • of cheese/onion filling into each tortilla, then roll up.
  • Transfer to the greased baking dish.
  • Repeat process with each tortilla until all filling has been used, or pan is full.
  • Top the enchiladas with the remaining gravy, submerging each enchilada in sauce.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • Enchiladas should be heated through and sauce should be bubbling.
  • Sprinkle with cheese, onion, and jalapeno if desired.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Absolutely first freakin' class! I followed the recipe to a T. (Well, OK, I have to fess up that I did add several drops of chipotle Tabasco to the sauce recipe). The flavours of the spices were very noticeable and distinct, while not being overpowering. A couple of comments, though: first, even though I filled each tortilla with over 1/4 cup of the cheese/onion mixture, I got 16 enchiladas and still had almost 1/2 pound of the cheese mixture left over - it did NOT go to waste however as I sprinkled it over the top of the enchiladas right before baking and the result was a fantastic bubbly gooey cheese topping. Second, while the sauce was absolutely delicious, there was insufficient liquid to smother the enchiladas in the baking dish because the liquid had reduced quite a bit during the simmering process, and so I had to make about another cup and a half of the sauce (without adding any more meat) and that worked out just fine. I will certainly use the sauce part of this recipe again for another purpose, namely to use it in my own "Sunken Meat Burritos" recipe. Since there are only two of us, an added bonus was that there were plenty of leftovers for another meal or two. Overall, this recipe is restaurant quality - thank you so much for sharing it.
  2. This was my first attempt at making enchiladas without using a canned sauce and it turned out great. This home made sauce is way better than canned stuff. I used 1/4 cup chili powder and I mixed in 1/4 cup of sour cream into the sauce after it was done cooking. My entire family raved about how good these enchiladas were.
  3. We live in the Florida panhandle and it is almost imossible to find the kind of Mexican food I grew up with in Oklahoma. This recipe is the closest I have ever found. My DH doesn't care for spicy foods. He will tolerate Mesican food for my sake, but it isn't his favorite. He even requested seconds! I followed you recipe exactly as written and they came out beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing. This will definitely be my "go-to" recipe for enchiladas from now on!
  4. As good as any Tex-Mex restaurant in San Antonio. I added a tiny pinch of sugar.
  5. When making enchiladas you need to make sure you tuck the flap side under. They won't spread open then. Also if you don't soften the shells enough you will not be able to roll them well, they will be to stiff and will sometimes crack. Are you putting too much filling inside? That will make them spread also. I'm from Texas and we make enchiladas often. I don't like the canned sauces either, most are too warm chile wise for the kids in the family. Hope this helps!


I live in Austin, TX. I completed a bachelor's degree in Communications in May 2002. I currently work for the government, but will be starting graduate school in August of 2003. I will be studying Library and Information Science. I love to write, read, and most importantly, cook.
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